Old World Daughter, New World Mother: An Education in Love and Freedom

Old World Daughter, New World Mother: An Education in Love and Freedom

by Maria Laurino

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Overview

A warm, smart, and witty personal investigation of ethnicity and womanhood.


In the second-generation immigrant home where Maria Laurino grew up, “independent” was a dirty word and “sacrifice” was the ideal and reality of motherhood. But out in the world, Mary Tyler Moore was throwing her hat in the air, personifying the excitement and opportunities of the freedom loving American career woman. How, then, to reconcile one’s inner Livia Soprano—the archetypal ethnic mother—with a feminist icon? Combining lived experience with research and reporting on our contemporary work-family dilemmas, Laurino brews an unusual and affirming blend of contemporary and traditional values. No other book has attempted to discuss feminism through the prism of ethnic identity, or to merge the personal and the analytical with such a passionate and intelligent literary voice. Prizing both individual freedom and an Old World in which the dependent young and old are cherished, Laurino makes clear how much the New World offers and how much it has yet to learn.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393057287
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 04/13/2009
Pages: 223
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Maria Laurino is the author of Were You Always an Italian?, a national bestseller, and Old World Daughter, New World Mother. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.

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Old World Daughter, New World Mother: An Education in Love and Freedom 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
chris227 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I saw this book I expected stories of big italiam families told about big italian family dinners. There was a little of this in Old World Daughter, New World Mother but not much. The book discusses family, gender issues, disability, child bearing and rearing. Basically, though, this is a book about feminism. It is the story of a woman trying to balance traditional women roles with the more modern role of powerful, working women. A little dry at times, the story could have used more stories about the italian family than mention of trying to break free from it.
whitreidtan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have a soft spot for books dealing with the immigrant experience. I like reading about second and third generations and the methods they face in assimilation. Cultures that seem to have had success holding onto their traditions and beliefs even after crossing an ocean fascinate me. And I'm not too far removed from the Italian portion of my family (even if my grandmother did use Velveeta in her lasagne). So this book should have been a slam dunk for me. Can you hear the "But..." in the previous sentence? Because it is there and unfortunately it looms large. I went into this collection of essays believing that I would be reading anecdotes about Laurino's Italian family, especially her mother, and the ways in which hyphenation (Italian-American) both complicated and enriched her life. And there was some of that, but only a very small amount. Instead the bulk of the essays dealt with the ways in which she as a woman navigated the old world ideas under which she was raised and the new world ideals surrounding her adulthood. The essays are very politicized, feminist focused writings on the balance between work and family. So for someone looking for a memoir, a mother-daughter ode, an entertaining cultural fiesta (sorry, I'm enough removed from my Italian roots I can't come up with an approrpiate Italian term instead), this was not the book to read. Laurino does posit the interesting idea that her mother's life was not unfulfilling simply because she followed the traditional pattern, that our concept of dependence is unneccesarily negative, and that the idea of independence can be isolating. But a little of this discussion goes a long way for me. I was unfortunately disappointed by what this book wasn't and bored by the extended discussion of feminism and its roots and relationship to traditional old world gender roles. For the more politically and sociologically inclined who aren't expecting as much a memoir as I was, this will probably be of more interest than it was to me.
gaby317 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maria Laurino's book is part memoirs and part analysis of feminism in practice. The book begins with stories of her Italian American grandparents and the lives that they built for themselves in New Jersey. Sharing anecdotes from her mother's childhood of how her maternal grandfather who came to the US at the turn of the century and created his own construction company. Growing their own vegetables and flowers, making their own wine in the basement of their home, maintaining many of their traditions and habits of the lives that they'd had in Italy. In the stories of her family, Maria Laurino shares the roles that women have held and how each generation of women would balance the expectations and needs of their families with their own needs. She writes about feminism in the context of her own life and her identity as Italian American. "I explained how my father wanted me to attend any college that I chose and always supported my living away from home to pursue a career...[the journalist] had no idea how radical the concept of establishing an independent life was for a daughter in a traditional Italian-American family."Laurino discusses how motherhood affected her understanding of everyday feminism. She also analyzes how feminism is regarded by college women and recent college graduates insofar as anecdotal research shows that less women seem to describe themselves as feminists while they have a deep commitment to gender equality in practice. Overall, I found Old World Daughter, New World Mother: An Education in Love and Freedom to be an interesting read.Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co. (April 13, 2009), 224 pages.Courtesy of Bostick Communications and the author.
ImBookingIt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My biggest problem with this book is that it wasn't what I expected it to be. I'm not sure it is fair to hold that against it.On the other hand, I had a hard time figuring out what the book WAS supposed to be. I liked most of the parts. It was combining them into a whole that didn't always work for me.I really, really want to give this book 3.5 stars.I was expecting a homey, somewhat funny memoir-- stories of the author's life, with some reflections on deeper meaning.What I read was a series of loosely related essays, braiding thoughts on feminism, references to research, and homey stories of her life. (I never did find the "witty" referred to in the book blurb.)These were, for the most part, well written. Several of them leave me with questions for the author. Some make me bristle, and want to argue. A few leave me saying Yes! She gets it!That's not a bad outcome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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gl More than 1 year ago
Maria Laurino's book is part memoirs and part analysis of feminism in practice. The book begins with stories of her Italian American grandparents and the lives that they built for themselves in New Jersey. Sharing anecdotes from her mother's childhood of how her maternal grandfather who came to the US at the turn of the century and created his own construction company. Growing their own vegetables and flowers, making their own wine in the basement of their home, maintaining many of their traditions and habits of the lives that they'd had in Italy. In the stories of her family, Maria Laurino shares the roles that women have held and how each generation of women would balance the expectations and needs of their families with their own needs. She writes about feminism in the context of her own life and her identity as Italian American. "I explained how my father wanted me to attend any college that I chose and always supported my living away from home to pursue a career...[the journalist] had no idea how radical the concept of establishing an independent life was for a daughter in a traditional Italian-American family." Laurino discusses how motherhood affected her understanding of everyday feminism. She also analyzes how feminism is regarded by college women and recent college graduates insofar as anecdotal research shows that less women seem to describe themselves as feminists while they have a deep commitment to gender equality in practice. Overall, I found Old World Daughter, New World Mother: An Education in Love and Freedom to be an interesting read. Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co. (April 13, 2009), 224 pages. Courtesy of Bostick Communications and the author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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grumpydan More than 1 year ago
"Old World Daughter, New World Mother" focuses on Maria Laurino's experiences as a both a mother and daughter and the roles in today's society. She chronicles her life and compares what it was life for her mother and the role she played in their Italian family and herself; a working woman. Her amusing writing style and the questions she brings up makes this an interesting book for all those mothers and daughter facing the same dilemmas.